SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This March 1st marks the beginning of women’s history month, it’s also Founder’s Day in Sioux Falls, celebrating all entrepreneurs in the community.

From products you can find on your grocery shelves, to services you need for your daily life, restaurants you enjoy around town and retail stores you love to frequent…

“You walk around downtown Sioux Falls, most of those stores are owned by a women,” Sadie Swier, the Director SD CEO East Women’s Business Center said. 

…many of these local favorites come to the community thanks to a woman who decided she wanted to open a business of her own.

“In South Dakota alone, there are over 90,000 small businesses and 43 percent of them are owned by women,” Swier said.

It’s a percentage that’s steadily grown over the years as more organizations are working to support female entrepreneurs in the state.

“There’s of course some great organizations like Embe with their business center, there’s Startup Sioux Falls, we have a great strong network for the small business development center,” Swier said.

Now women on the east side of the state also have access to the Women’s Business Center, a part of the Small Business Administration.

“We offer free business advising, but also we’re doing some of these programs, events and trainings,” Swier said.

But along with these professional organizations, female entrepreneurs are also building support for one another.

“It is very meaningful to us to be able to bring others along because I think we’re stronger when we unite together,” Addie Graham-Kramer, the owner of the Event Company said.

In her 10 years running the Event Company, Addie Graham-Kramer has always been intentional about working with other female-owned businesses when planning events.

“Whether its boutiques like Terra Shepherd or Fig Tales, we also try to connect and lift them up along the way,” Kramer said.

She says the network of support now available to women entrepreneurs across the state is a big step forward.

“It wasn’t always like that, 10 years go we didn’t have that support,” Kramer said.

But from her humble beginning…

“We started our business in a 133 square foot office and there were two of us at that time.”

…Kramer has helped build a nationwide company that now has 16 employees and contracts with countless other business owners all over the U.S.

“We plan events in 22 different states across the country, this small company in Sioux Falls South Dakota is having this impact on so many other lives,” Kramer said.

She says continuing to grow the network of support for women in the state will help more feel empowered to take the big step of entrepreneurship.

“Leaving an industry where I had a good salary, health benefits, to just jumping out on my own is of course scary for anybody,” Kramer said.

“When they’re doing this journey and starting their business by themselves, it can be very lonely, especially with women whether they have a family, they have kids and they’re trying to run their business, that can be a lot,” Kramer said.

But leaning on the wisdom and experience of the women who have found success…

“I was able to have a family, attend my daughter’s piano practice, take her to sports, and maintain my business at the same time,” Sanaa Abourezk, the owner of Sanaa’s Gourmet said.

…is the key to helping more women turn their idea…

“How do I become a freelancer, that’s an entrepreneur, how do I open a food truck, how do we make those people realize that they are a small business owner,” Swier said.

…into a successful, thriving new business.

“When you’re opening a daycare or something like that, how do we make them realize that they can be a business leader,” Swier said.

Making connections and networking with other women in business is an incredibly important part of entrepreneurship. There are several opportunities for women across the state to connect throughout the month of March, including the 2nd annual EmpowerHERment luncheon in Sioux Falls.